INGREDIENTS OUTPACE MEALS: REPORT
CHICAGO — High gas prices are helping to drive demand for CPG products, especially basic ingredients for home cooking, as consumers shun restaurant dining and opt to prepare meals themselves, according to a new report from Information Resources Inc. here. The report, “Competing in a Transforming Economy,” details the economic factors that are driving CPG shopping patterns. “As consumers re-prioritize spending, departments that provide necessities for meal preparation, including frozen foods, perishables and Center Store, are now gaining,” the report states. “At the category level, basic ingredients are outpacing ultra-convenient frozen and refrigerated meals, marking a turning point in the convenience trend.” The report includes results from an IRI survey noting that about half of U.S. consumers with incomes under $55,000 per year said they have difficulty buying all the groceries they need.
TRADING DOWN SLOWS VILLAGE SALES
SPRINGFIELD, N.J. — Village Super Market here said last week that its customers appear to be trading down because of economic pressures, restraining same-store sales growth at the 25-unit ShopRite operator. In the third quarter, which ended April 26, Village said net income rose by about 0.5%, to $4.9 million, on a sales increase of 7.1%, to $273.4 million, vs. year-ago levels. Same-store sales were up 0.4%. The company said sales gains from the closure of one competitive store and from food inflation were partially offset by cannibalization from new stores, two competitive openings and “increased sale-item penetration and trading down as consumers appeared to be more cautious.” Year-to-date, net income was up 10%, to $15.7 million, on a sales gain of 6.8%, to $829.8 million. Same-store sales were up 2.1% for the nine-month span.
ALDI OPENS ‘GREEN’ STORE: REPORT
BATAVIA, Ill. — Aldi here last week opened the doors to a store in East Syracuse, N.Y., that showcases the chain's new marketing and environmental approaches, reports said. The store is designed to achieve a 30% reduction in utility use compared with Aldi's existing model, said a chain spokesman quoted in in The Post-Standard. The store's “green” features include LED lighting in coolers and more efficient refrigeration technologies. The store also showcases its economy — such as its no-bag policy — as an environmental feature, the report said.
UFCW TAKES TESCO CAMPAIGN TO U.K.
WESTMINSTER, England — The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union is seeking to convince the parent company of Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Markets to meet with labor representatives in the U.S. by launching a campaign here. In a press conference here last week to discuss a union report entitled “The Two Faces of Tesco,” Jon Cruddas, a member of Parliament, said, “What this dossier exposes about Tesco's practices in the U.S. not only undermines Tesco's reputation but will also affect how people think about the fairness of British companies in general.” Tesco was quoted in the Financial Times of London as saying, “If our people want to join a union, then they can and will. All the signs so far are that there is little interest in doing so.”
LOBLAW RAISES $300 MILLION IN DEBT
TORONTO — Loblaw Cos. here said that it has closed a $300 million (U.S.) fixed-rate private placement of debt. The notes were issues in two equal tranches of $150 million consisting of five-year maturity at 6.48% and seven-year maturity at 6.86%. Loblaw said it will use the funds to repay current obligations.